anthony galvin

TAGGED: TECH

UK users like polished Chrome

This post originally appeared on the R/GA tech blog 3 August 2011

This week has seen the news that in the UK, Google Chrome has overtaken Mozilla FireFox to become the second most popular browser. According to data aggregated by StatCounter (a provider of website tracking software), Chrome now has 22.1% of the UK browser market, pushing it past FireFox’s 22.0% market share. Internet Explorer continues to dominate with 46% of UK users still using some version of IE.

Measuring UK browser percentages is not an exact science. Whilst StatCounter usage is widespread, it is by no means the only web tracking software available. This combined with the difficulty in identifying the geographic location of all site visitors means that despite the impression of precision, this data should be regarded as indicative. What is interesting here is the trend and also the reasons ascribed to the growth of Chrome usage in the UK.

Google clearly see speed as a key element in the rapid growth in Chrome usage. Google engineer Lars Bak has been quoted as saying “Speed is a fundamental part of it, but it’s also about the minimal design and the way it handles security”. But the success isn’t only about technical excellence and improving developer tools. A growing suite of cloud based business applications is driving adoption of Chrome by UK businesses. Unusually for a Google product, in the UK Chrome has also been supported by an extensive outdoor advertising campaign.

Whilst Chrome isn’t universally popular, it’s speed and innovative use of caching, has given it, and Google a place on many people’s desktop. With Google alsogrowing rapidly in the mobile market with it’s phone operating system, Android, and making a play at the hardware market with it’s new Chromebook, it would be difficult to see the rapid growth of Chrome slowing any time soon.

#tech #browsers #work #technology #code

2011-08-13 23:20:19 GMT permalink

Head in the cloud

This post originally appeared on the Altogether Digital blog.

Last year at the <HEAD> conference I was fortunate enough to catch Simon Wardley’s excellent presentation on open source and ‘cloud computing’. It was interesting and engaging, but didn’t really seem to be something that the technical team at Altogether could really utilise - the projects we were working on didn’t appear to need ‘the cloud’.

A few months later, and although the sun is shining on Great Portland Street we are happily working ‘under a cloud’.The concept of cloud computing has been around for a while and there’s plenty of definitions and not a little controversy about whether some of the larger cloud players are really providing a silver lining. I don’t think the team here at Altogether is that hung up on a formal definition of ‘the cloud’, we just like effective solutions that work for our clients. However,  as a broad definition: Cloud computing is a way of virtualising data in order to provide a specific performance benefit. The performance benefit may be the ability to provide a rapidly scalable hosting environment or fast access to rich content using edge served data.

Earlier this month Ciaran blogged about how Altogether were working with Kleenex to produce a Twitter based hayfever map of the UK. What he didn’t mention was that as the campaign progressed it was picked up by the press and traffic to the site started to increase pretty rapidly. In order to keep up with the demand for the service we simply moved some of the data storage out into the cloud, in this case Amazon’s S3 service. In Amazon’s words S3 provides “a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web”. Or in our words, the site stays up and performs well.

Whilst the hayfever sufferers have been keeping a sore eye on Twitter, we’ve also been working with Vertu on their new global website. The site has lots of content including rich video and some hefty photography, all delivered in 7 languages. There’s a lot of data flying around. To improve the performance of the site we’ve been working with Akamai who provide ‘edge serving’ technology, which is basically a way of putting the content nearer to the customer - in Akamai’s case on 48,000 servers in 70 countries.

In both cases there’s some pretty geeky stuff happening, which to some people is pretty exciting in itself, but what’s more important is that we have another tool in our digital armoury that ensures the solutions we deliver for clients stay online and perform well, whatever the weather.

#work #tech #code

2009-06-18 15:25:00 GMT permalink

Economic Analysis In 140 Characters

This post originally appeared on the Altogether Digital blog.

The economy is in crisis and the government announces its latest budget in an attempt to try and dig the country out of the deep economic hole that it is currently in. Whichever side of the political divide you’re on this is clearly serious stuff.

I’m certainly no economist, so last night I tuned into Channel4 news for some serious analysis of what’s going on. There was a panel of experts and politicians from across the spectrum discussing the political and economic fallout from the budget. Mid-debate something strange happens; Jon Snow interrupts and they cut over to Krishnan Guru-Murthy who’s sat in front of a PC reading out detailed economic analysis (in 140 characters or fewer) from random people on Twitter.

Now these people aren’t actually random. They’ve tagged their tweets with #c4budget, as @krishgm has asked them to do throughout the day. But I don’t know who they are and have no idea whether they know any more about the economics than Vince Cable or Mickey Mouse.

I’m a big fan of Twitter, it’s brilliant for lot’s of things but detailed economic analysis isn’t really it’s strength. But it’s easy to see the attraction for the ITN news team, who produce Channel4 news:

They don’t have to send someone into the street to get the usual vapid one liners from people stood at a bus stop (which was how the 10 o’clock news on BBC1 gathered public reaction). It makes them look like they’ve got a finger on the pulse of the electorate and shows that they are technologically innovative. It’s cheap TV.

However, there’s a bigger issue here. I’m watching Channel4 news because it can do something that I can’t: get leading politicians and experts in a room and hold a debate on the budget. Searching twitter for #budget is something I can do in a matter of seconds. We don’t really need to have a publicly owned (and theoretically public service) TV station paying someone to read out tweets on air. It’s a bit like getting Simon Schama to Google the year Henry VIII was born.

But of course with media companies around the globe struggling to find new business models that will continue pay for all of these annoyingly expensive journalists, this could well be a depressing foretaste of what’s to come.

#work #tech #social

2009-05-13 09:59:00 GMT permalink

#work #code #tech

2009-04-16 16:24:00 GMT permalink